Posts

Old Testament Cosmology

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(The following is an updated repost from February 27, 2017 . The original post received 78 comments.) My newly published book critiquing Answers in Genesis' Creation Museum contains an illustration of ancient Israelite cosmology that has circulated quite widely on the web. Anyone is now free to use or republish this image however you wish provided you simply cite the book: Ben Stanhope, (Mis)interpreting Genesis: How the Creation Museum Misunderstands the Ancient Near Eastern Context of the Bible (Scarab Press: Louisville Kentucky, 2018), 88. Amazon book purchase link. The geek stuff: This illustration draws on the attempts of previous scholars, including Nahum Sarna,  Understanding Genesis: the Heritage of Biblical Israel  (New York: Schocken Books, 1966), 5. Incorporating the iconography of Leviathan and the seraphim is an idea I owe to Othmar Keel’s illustration in  Altorientalische Miniaturkunst  (Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1990), 15. Foremost of all, I have be

Why the Villain of Eden was a snake

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The following as an archived version of a post originally made Jan 3, 2018 . The original post received 139 comments. This YouTube presentation argues ancient Judahite religion believed seraphim were serpentine divine beings and that the serpent in the Garden of Eden story was likely one of these creatures in the original context of the Hebrew Bible. Footnotes: [1] Michael S. Heiser,  The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible  (Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2015), 87. See also, Michael S. Heiser, The Nachash (הנחש) and His Seed: Some Explanatory Notes on Why the “Serpent” in Genesis 3 Wasn’t a Serpent,” 1-7. Available at: http://www.pidradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/nachashnotes.pdf [2] See T. N. D. Mettinger entry “Seraph” in  Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible  (DDD) ed. K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter Willem van der Horst (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 743. [3] Othmar Keel,  Jahwe-Visionen und Siegelkunst: Eine neue Deutung der Majestatsschi

The Solid Heavenly Dome of Israelite Cosmology: A Response to Younker and Davidson

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The following is an archived version of an original post dated to June 19, 2018 . Most Semitists believe ancient Israelite religion believed the sky was a solid dome which retained a celestial ocean above it from flooding the earth--in parallel with the Mesopotamians and Egyptians. However, Younker and Davison's popular 2011 journal article, "The Myth of the Solid Heavenly Dome" challenges this consensus. In the following presentation, I present several disagreements I have with their work and lay out a brief case in favor of ancient belief in the solid heavenly dome. Errata: This video references the Tablet of Shamash and argues that it depicts the dome of heaven and upper waters. I've since encountered new data that convinces me this scene depicts the sun and stars ascending from the lower apsu with the sunrise at the level of the earth. Likewise, since taking a course in Old Babylonian, I now recognize several terms are mispronounced.  Footnotes: 1] This illustrat

Illustrations of Hebrew Seals and Bullae Identifying Biblical Persons

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My recent M.A. thesis contained my digital illustrations of ancient seals identifying biblical persons. Since images of a few of these artifacts can be difficult to access, and some of my illustrations bring out elements and engraving reconstructions elsewhere unpublished, this blog post seeks to make a number of them more available to researchers. Publication of many of these images will be forthcoming in a volume by Sheffield Phoenix. However, at present if you wish to use them, you can simply cite my online thesis : Benjamin Stanhope, “First Temple Hebrew Seals and Bullae Identifying Biblical Persons: A Study of their Iconographic and Historical Significance” M.A. Thesis, Hamburg University, 2019. The figure notations in this post correspond to the thesis. Examples of ancient seal impressing methods Fig 1. Upper register: Example of a Kassite cylinder seal rolled out on clay. Lower register: A perforated stamp seal set in the axle of a ring